|Directed by||Pankaj Parashar|
|Produced by||A. Poorna Chandra Rao|
|Written by||Rajesh Mazumdar|
|Edited by||Afaque Husain|
|Distributed by||Lakshmi Productions|
|Box office||est.₹19 crores|
ChaalBaaz (English: Trickster) is a 1989 Indian slapstick comedy film directed by Pankaj Parashar in a screenplay written by Rajesh Mazumdar and Kamlesh Pandey. The film stars Sridevi, Sunny Deol and Rajinikanth in lead roles. Anupam Kher, Shakti Kapoor, Rohini Hattangadi and Anu Kapoor are featured in supporting roles. Loosely based on the 1973 film Seeta Aur Geeta, the film revolves around twin sisters separated at birth - Anju, who is badly treated and abused by her uncle and lives her life in servitude and Manju, who grows up to be a street smart girl defying the odds and challenging the patriarchal society.
The film was well received by critics and audiences upon release and went on to become a critical and commercial success becoming the fifth-highest-grossing film of 1989. Among the elements of the movie that were highly praised included the film's story, music and Sridevi's performance in the dual role, which is considered to be one of her finest performances in Bollywood. The movie was remade in Kannada in 1990 as Rani Maharani starring Malashri. Over the years the film has become a 'cult classic' in Hindi cinema.
Born as twin sisters, Anju (Sridevi) and Manju (Sridevi) are separated immediately after birth thanks to their mentally handicapped nanny (Aruna Irani). Anju ends up with her uncle Tribhuvan (Anupam Kher) and aunt Amba (Rohini Hattangadi), while Manju is raised in a slum environment. Their parents were killed in a car accident orchestrated by Tribhuvan. However, in their will, they declare that their daughters will inherit their wealth once the twins turns 21. This results in Tribhuvan and Amba bringing Anju up as a coy and easily frightened girl, merely keeping her alive so she can sign off the property in their name. The house servant Daddu (Annu Kapoor), Anju's younger brother Raja (Aftab Shivdasani) and a pet dog sympathize with her plight.
Anju likes classical dance and is unable to resist the urge to dance whenever she hears Indian classical music. On his birthday, Tribhuvan hosts a grand party. Among the several guests attending is his friend Vishwanath (Saeed Jaffrey), who is generally kind towards Anju. When Indian classical music plays at the party, Anju is unable to resist and bursts out dancing, but ends up accidentally slapping Tribhuvan. Although calm at the party, he beats Anju mercilessly with a whip the next day.
On the other hand, Manju grows up in a slum as a happy-go-lucky and street smart stage dancer. She spends her days tricking people in the village to forgo her loans and is childhood friends with her neighbor and taxi driver Jaggu (Rajnikanth). One night she crashes into a bar to drink beer where she meets and flirts with Suraj (Sunny Deol), Viswanath's son. Suraj soon falls for her. Vishwanath has been pestering Suraj to get married for a while now and one day, when he shows him Anju's photo as a prospective marriage offer, he agrees, mistaking her to be Manju. When they visit Tribhuvan's place with their offer, Anju doesn't recognize Suraj and has a panic attack (courtesy of the injections given to her by Amba), which scare Suraj and Vishwanath away.
The reason Tribhuvan and Amba refuse to attend to marriage offers for Anju is because they want to get her married to Amba's brother Batuknath Lallanprasad Maalpani a.k.a. Balma (Shakti Kapoor). They call Balma to live with them, who soon begins harassing Anju and kills her pet dog when he leaps to her defense. Terrified at the turn of events, Anju runs away from home. On her way, she is harassed by strangers until Suraj saves her. That same day, Manju has a fight with Jaggu and she sets off on her own path. In a twist of fate, their paths end up crossing and while the two never meet, they end up exchanging places. Thus, an injured Suraj is brought to Anju's house by Manju, while Anju ends up at Manju's slum. Manju falls in love with Suraj.
Manju is easily able to assert control over Tribhuvan, Amba and Balma. While the trio mistake her for Anju and assume her to be weak, Manju surprises them by displaying strength and aggression and has them under control. Meanwhile, Anju starts getting close to Jaggu, who in turn starts falling for the new "Manju". He proposes marriage to her, to which she agrees. Suraj sees Anju with Jaggu and thinks Manju is two-timing them and breaks up with her.
The two sisters live their life comfortably until one day, Balma spots Anju at Manju's place and deduces that the one in their house is her twin sister Manju. He hatches a plan and kidnaps Anju, taking her to a bungalow at Alibaug. One of Jaggu's friends overhears Balma speaking to Tribhuvan on the phone and informs Manju, Suraj and Jaggu, who finally understand what's going on. They arrive at the bungalow where Tribhuvan forces Anju to drink poison and also has their nanny captive. Suraj, Manju and Jaggu fight Tribhuvan's goons and save Anju, who finally gets to share a tender moment with Manju. She is taken to the hospital and survives.
Finally, Suraj marries Manju while Jaggu end up with Anju and they live happily ever after. They're both blessed with twins.
- Sridevi Kapoor as Anju/ Manju
- Sunny Deol as Suraj
- Rajnikanth as Jaggu
- Anupam Kher as Tribhuvan / Chachaji
- Rohini Hattangadi as Amba (Tribhuvan's wife)
- Annu Kapoor as Daddu (Tribhuvan's servant)
- Saeed Jaffrey as Vishwanath (Suraj's dad)
- Shakti Kapoor as Batuknath Lalanprasad Maalpani / Balma
- Aruna Irani as Anju & Manju's nanny
- Kader Khan as Blind Beggar (Special Appearance)
- Aftab Shivdasani as Raju / Raja (Anju & Manju's Twins brother)
- Johnny Lever as Tantrik Johnny Baba (Special Appearance)
Reception and Legacy
The film was very well received by critics and continues to hold a cult status among critics and audiences alike. Filmfare ranked Sridevi's performance in Chaalbaaz 4th in its list of 80 Iconic Performances of Hindi Cinema stating that "Sridevi´s penchant for giggles and her ability to look distinctly tearful when required polishes these performances to perfection. Hell, she made Sunny Deol and Rajnikant look like sidekicks in the film". The Times of India article Bollywood's Hit Double Roles gushed: "Sridevi's performance rocked the box office". Rediff featured the film in its countdown of 25 Best Double Roles in Bollywood saying: "What you don't realize until you have seen ChaalBaaz is just how incredible Sridevi is at depicting both ends of the spectrum" and that the film "cemented her position as an actress with a killer comic timing". Speaking to Indian Express about Sridevi's act in ChaalBaaz, the director Pankaj Parashar said "She proved her range with the movie and after that she got lots of offers which saw her in a double role". Her slapstick rain dance "Na jaane kahan se aayi hai" became a big hit with Times of India describing it as a "Sridevi classic where she simply looked wow with her chirpy expressions and rain drops kissing her cheeks". The song ultimately led to choreographer Saroj Khan's winning the Filmfare Award for Best Choreography.
Music Composer duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal composed the film's score with lyrics by Anand Bakshi. The music was produced by Zee Music Company. The film's songs were very well received with some, such as "Na Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai" going on to become huge hits and classics.
|1||"Tera Bemar Mera Dil"||Kavita Krishnamurthy, Mohammad Aziz||OST album contains an extra verse edited out in the final cut of the film|
|2||"Na Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai"||Kavita Krishnamurthy, Amit Kumar||Appears twice in the soundtrack album|
|3||"Gadbad Ho Gayee"||Kavita Krishnamurthy, Jolly Mukherjee, Amit Kumar||Comedy sequence featuring in film|
|4||"Naam Mera Premkali"||Kavita Krishnamurthy||Shot in "Bubbles" night club, Mumbai.|
|5||"Bhoot Raja"||Kavita Krishnamurthy, Sudesh Bhosle, Johnny Lever||Features the actual vocals of famous Bollywood comedian Johnny Lever|
|7||"Dance Music" (Instrumental)||Used many times in various Indian films and drama serials.|
- 1990 Filmfare Awards
- Best Actress – Sridevi
- Best Choreographer – Saroj Khan for song – "Na Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai"
- Nominated: Best Playback Singer (Female) - Kavita Krishnamurthy – "Na Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai"
- Ohnotheydidnt. "80 Iconic Performances from Filmfare Magazine".
- Times of India. "Bollywood's Hit Double Roles". The Times Of India.
- Rediff. "The 25 Best Double Roles in Bollywood".
- Rediff. "PIX: The Changing Faces of Sridevi".
- Indian Express. "Double roles are still fun as ever".
- Times of India. "Bollywood's high on recreating retros". The Times Of India.